Chapter 7 Bankruptcy “Liquidation” Bankruptcy boiled down for you.
At Red Rock Legal Services, P.L.L.C., our goal is to simplify the bankruptcy process as much as possible. The following is an outline of the 4 basic steps you can typically expect when you come to our office to discuss and ultimately file your bankruptcy. The most common form of bankruptcy is Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and is usually the simplest and quickest form of bankruptcy. There are income restrictions on Chapter 7 bankruptcy but it is available to almost everyone. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often the best choice for bankruptcy.
We offer a free initial consultation. This consultation also allows us to determine how we can help you. To find out if we can work together as a team to get you a fresh start. You will meet with an attorney. Who will explain to you the basics of bankruptcy and answer your questions. Many times and in many offices, you meet with a paralegal and only meet your attorney at Step 3 of the process. For many people this is and justifiably be unnerving, after all you are paying someone to be your attorney. While we love our paralegal staff and you will too, your case is overseen by an attorney from beginning to end. Because let’s face it, you are coming to see an attorney and shouldn’t pay ‘attorney fees’ to only see him for 15 minutes at the meeting of creditors.
We will briefly discuss both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies with you; inform you of the differences between the two, the costs involved with both, and how you can qualify for each type. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee is assigned to your case and the trustee might sell some of your property or assets for the benefit of your creditors. Most Chapter 7 in Southern Utah, St. George and Cedar City are what are called ‘no-asset cases’ and you will usually have nothing that the trustee is allowed to sell. You can generally keep cars you are still making payments on if you can afford to continue the payments to the bank. Usually, you can keep your home if you are current on the payments and can keep making those payments on the mortgage as well.
The amount of property the Utah State Legislature has outlined residents of Utah are allowed to keep through bankruptcy is not very generous and you should have an experienced attorney assist you in determining if your property is protected under the state laws. We can do that for you. Only after we have answered your questions and recommended the appropriate type of bankruptcy for your situation, will we begin the paperwork process and set a return appointment. We will discuss the fees and go over the documents that we need to complete the filing.
At the consultation, should you choose to sign a retainer and making down payment on the fees, notify the collection agencies of our representation and that they must contact RED ROCK LEGAL SERVICES ONLY regarding the debts. This will stop the collection phone calls!
Return Appointment – Bringing in “The Packet”
The “Packet” sounds a lot scarier than it really is. In many offices it is very long and confusing. Not so with Red Rock, in fact, the amount of pages you will need to complete is only about 14 pages, more than half of those we will assist you to quickly complete at the consultation Step One – Consultation. The rest of the pages you will complete is easy stuff like, what is your name, where do you live, do you own a dog? [We are dog people here at Red Rock, although the in-laws are cat folks so we like them as well.]
At your return packet appointment, you will bring in the completed information packet and all of the documents that we need to file your case, as well as a down payment towards the fees (or all of the fees if you prefer to get it out of the way). We will discuss any other questions you may have forgotten at the consultation, or that might have come up while putting the paperwork together. There is nothing like seeing it all on paper to get you thinking about how this will all shake out. We then set a date to file your bankruptcy.
How quickly we are able to prepare your documents for filing depends largely on you completing the paperwork, accurately and completely providing all necessary information and paying the legal fees.
Once we receive all the needed legal fees and the required information from you, it is time to file your bankruptcy. If it is a joint case both you and your spouse must be present at the filing appointment. At this time, you must provide copies of bank statements showing the balances of all open bank accounts as of the date of filing (in order to make sure you have no “liquid” assets like cash, these copies must show and you must not have on hand more than about $100.00 total just for the day of filing). We will read and review the bankruptcy documents, you will sign them, and we will obtain a case number.
Once you file your bankruptcy petition, an automatic stay takes effect. This means your creditors must stop trying to collect on the debts. This means no more garnishments or repossessions!!!!
341 Creditor/Trustee Meeting
After filing for bankruptcy, you will receive notice of a 341 meeting from the court (we will send you one as well to remind you of the meeting and what you need to do). It will tell you the date and time for your meeting with the bankruptcy trustee. You MUST attend this meeting, where you will meet your trustee and your creditors (who might show up, generally no one does) for an opportunity to ask you questions about your debts, income and assets. We will discuss with you this meeting in further detail at your filing appointment, and attend the meeting with you. You will not be alone in this process, we will be there to assist you and answer any questions you might have.
The following items must be brought to this meeting: most recent pay-stubs, picture ID, and social security card or W2. It is important to note that in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any tax refunds you may be entitled to go to your Trustee to pay your creditors.